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Getting Down to Business

May 5, 2021

Calvin University in Grand Rapids, Mich., and Redeemer University in Ancaster, Ont., are in the business of education — and now these schools are in the process of building their business programs.

Redeemer University

Redeemer University recently announced that in fall 2021 students will be able to enroll in a new bachelor of business administration (BBA) degree program. This is Redeemer’s first new degree program since the bachelor of education launched in 2003.

The new BBA program will build on the university’s strengths as a liberal arts and sciences institution. Like all Redeemer undergraduates, BBA students will take the interdisciplinary core studies program alongside a business concentration in accounting, management, marketing, or not-for-profit management.

Redeemer recently added two new faculty positions to teach in the core program, reinforcing its commitment to see all students benefit from a broad-based, interdisciplinary approach to learning.

A new Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship is also scheduled to launch this fall. The Centre will enhance the university’s liberal arts and sciences approach, enabling arts, humanities, social science, and sciences students to showcase their creativity, versatility, critical thinking, and problem solving abilities.

While overall enrollment at Redeemer has surged, some programs remain underenrolled or have decreased in enrollment. Recognizing shifts in student expectations as well as financial challenges common to higher education, the university has systematically reviewed its program array to ensure long-term financial sustainability at a lower tuition level announced two years ago.

As a result, three faculty positions in French and theatre arts will end this summer, and the Redeemer community will dearly miss faculty members who dedicated decades of excellence and mentorship to shaping hundreds of alumni in those programs.

“Today’s announcements bring both optimism and sadness. As a growing Christian liberal arts university, launching new degrees and investing in growing programs are a natural outflow of strategic planning processes that are critical for the future,” said Redeemer president Dr. Robert Graham.

“Part of the challenge is that we must build on current momentum while making difficult decisions that will help us maintain lower tuition levels and avoid making deeper cuts down the road, the kinds of cuts we are seeing at other institutions.”

Calvin University

As a multimillion-dollar School of Business building is going up on its campus, with completion slated for 2022, Calvin has named Jim Ludema as dean of the school. Ludema is currently a professor in the Daniel L. Goodwin College of Business at Benedictine University in Lisle, Ill., where he has served since 1998. He is also director of the university’s Center for Values-Driven Leadership, which he launched in 2008.

“We see Jim’s extensive experience in business education, his proven ability to create and launch new programs, his collaborative approach to leadership, and his incredible reputation in the business community serving our current and future learners well,” said Michael Le Roy, Calvin University president.

Ludema, a 1982 alumnus of Calvin, returns to his alma mater as an experienced educator, researcher, and administrator. He also comes with an extensive network in the business world and consulting experience for Fortune 500 companies, including McDonald’s, John Deere, Allstate, and Merck, to name a few. He served for a time with World Renew in Central America as well.

More than a year ago, an anonymous donor gave $22.25 million to launch the Calvin University School of Business. The gift will be used to construct the School of Business building and to improve shared spaces in the DeVos Communication Center, the building to which the new business school will be connected.

The gift also provides significant endowment funds that will be used to support the new dean of the School of Business and the business faculty.

The purpose of the endowment is to serve as a catalyst for a number of new academic programs intended to serve new populations of students at Calvin.

“This generous gift allows the university to extend its influence as a center of Reformed Christian thought leadership in business by addressing the needs of a wider range of learners, from undergraduate and graduate students to practicing businesspeople and thought leaders,” said Marilyn Stansbury, director of Calvin's master of accounting program.

The Calvin Business Department dates back to the mid 2000s when it became a separate entity from the Accounting Department.

In fall 2021 Calvin will also begin its new online master of business administration program.